Variations on Adeste fideles, Op. 21
Secrets of Organ Playing

Variations on Adeste fideles, Op. 21

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In the fall of 2013 my friend and colleague, Paulius Grigonis who is the organist at St Joseph church here in Vilnius was preparing to play a recital at Vilnius Cathedral around Christmas time. He approached me asking for advice about the pieces he could be playing.

I offered him to compose a set of 6 variations on the famous Christmas tune Adeste fideles and he agreed too much hesitation (too bad).

I started working on the composition but got stuck at the end of the 5th variation. I used major and minor chords only. My goal was to create something colorful and modern and yet understandable to the listener.

Because of these simple chords the harmonies are very clear and transparent. What makes it sound modern though is that I avoid traditional chordal progressions of the perfect fourth and perfect fifth. This would imply tonic-dominant, dominant-tonic, tonic-subdominant, subdominant-tonic relationship.

But I didn't want this. I wanted to surprise my audience and my friend Paulius. So I chose all kinds of progressions - minor and major seconds, minor and major thirds, even a tritone to keep it fresh.

However, the result was too difficult to play for Paulius on a short notice and I got side-tracked with other projects. Although the idea of completing the variations never left me.

So last weekend I sat down and added the last variation with a CODA.

I hope you'll enjoy this piece which is dedicated to Paulius.

8 pages, PDF score. Advanced level.

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